Sunday, July 26, 2009

How I ate my way through Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, California is both a resort town and a college town. Downtown Santa Barbara is home to fabulous shopping, world class dining, wine tasting rooms, and an awesome boardwalk/pier. U.C. Santa Barbara is just north of Santa Barbara in Goleta. Adjacent to the campus is the very unique college community of Isla Vista. When I was a freshman at UCSB, everyone said it was the most densely populated square mile west of the Mississippi. I have no idea if this is true, but I do know that I.V. is a crazy home to college students, parties, burning couches and that I had lots of fun there, but was quite ready to leave after four years.

The combination of resort and college town results in a wide array of food choices...and its all great. From college style breakfast burritos to perfect steaks and wine, Santa Barbara is a great place for eating.

This past weekend, I was in lovely Santa Barbara for one of my best friend's bachelorette party. The party was oh so fun; a great weekend of relaxing, laughing, drinking, dancing and reminiscing with great friends and toasting the bride. What set this bachelorette party apart from the others I have been to was the amazing food.

On Friday it was just the bride, Jader, and me, so we headed to Blush on State Street in Downtown Santa Barbara, for dinner. The building that housed Blush used to be a sketchy 18 and over club that Jader and I used to go to in college. We joked that the building was like us, growing classier with time.

The food at Blush was exquisite, perfectly cooked and beautifully presented. I had juniper roasted chicken with lemon puree and a potato gratin tower looking thing that tasted like heaven. I regret not taking a picture of it, but it did not last long on the plate as I ate every bite!

After our dinner at Blush, we went to Elements which is also in Downtown Santa Barbara. This restaurant was so artsy and cute. In fact, it was pretty close to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

We did not eat at Elements and I did not see the menu, so I cannot comment on the food. But they had an amazing martini menu and I thoroughly enjoyed my champagne cocktail adorned with a hibiscus flower (which you can't see because my camera sucks and I'm still dreaming about my nikon).

On Saturday morning, after a night of champage coctails, I needed a substantial breakfast. Jader and I went to Bagel Cafe in Isla Vista. Here is a great example of college food, all they serve are piled high bagel sandwiches with every ingredient a starving college kid can think of. They do make fresh strawberry cream cheese that looks amazing. I opted for the "slammin' salmon" bagel and was not disappointed. It was stacked with cucumber, tomato, lox, and a ton of cream cheese. I had light cream cheese, that combined with all those veggies and fish made this health food, right?

The real bachelorette party was Saturday night. We ate at Blue Agave in Downtown Santa Barbara where I had a life changing experience. I ordered a margarita pizza with fresh mozzarella and basil. It sounded like heaven and a complete meal, until I saw the option to add a fried egg. I thought that sounded either totally disgusting or like the best thing ever. So I went for it was a-maz-ing. The broken yolk oozed over the mozzarella and into the crust and was so rich and delicious. I am definitely re-creating this dish for my husband who doubts the wonderfulness of a fried egg on pizza. Again, I wish I had taken a picture of it but that pizza was not long for this world with me around.

Sunday morning, after a long night of dancing, the girls and I ended our Santa Barbara weekend with good ol' college style breakfast burritos from Cantina in Isla Vista. They were everything a girl needed on a Sunday morning, greasy and delicious. A perfect end to an amazing weekend.


  1. Sounds like you had a ton of fun. Now to the gym with you because those meals although amazing probably ate up all your points :)

  2. Oh honey you have no idea, I think I would have shut down the weight watchers website if I tried to enter "pizza with fried egg on top!"